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Published: 1/9/2013

Ex-local IHOP manager pleads guilty to 13 federal counts including fraud, ID theft,

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A Sylvania man who for years was manager of several Toledo-area IHOP restaurants pleaded guilty recently to 13 federal charges related to identity theft and fraudulently manipulating financial records.

Mazen Khdeer, 54, appeared Friday in U.S. District Court in Toledo, where he entered a plea before Judge James Knepp II to one count each of money laundering, malicious use of fire, conspiracy to harbor illegal immigrants, identity theft, conspiracy to commit health-care fraud, and eight counts of filing false claims. A 19-page court document unsealed Friday outlined Khdeer’s involvement in various frauds and conspiracies, including those alleged to involve franchise owner Tarek Elkafrawi.

Included in the document was a notice that nearly $93,000 in cash and two real estate properties will be forfeited.

Khdeer decided to cooperate rather than contest the charges, said attorney Jon Richardson, who said his client faces jail time.

Khdeer, also known as Mazen Khudair and Majeed Khudair, was not among 18 people charged in May in a scheme to employ more than 200 illegal immigrants in area IHOP restaurants. Mr. Elkafrawi, 54, and others are accused of forging paperwork and, in some cases, creating multiple identities so workers could report lower earnings.

Mr. Elkafrawi was placed on house arrest and was freed from police custody to his Perrysburg home Friday.

The document said Khdeer began in 2003 to help manage Mr. Elkafrawi’s Toledo-area eateries. The document said Mr. Elkafrawi, Khdeer, and others “through their operation, control, and oversight of the franchises, used various frauds, schemes, and criminal activities to fraudulently manipulate sales figures, salaries, and payroll, and losses in an attempt to evade taxes, avoid paying royalties, and other financial obligations, and to unjustly and illegal divert money from IHOP franchises to themselves.”

Khdeer also was charged with conspiring to “harbor aliens and commit identity theft.”

A sentencing date is not set.



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